How to send a large money transfer abroad

Your bank might be more convenient, but international money transfer specialists probably offer a better deal.

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It’s actually much easier than it seems to send a large money transfer abroad. Banks can be helpful, but they also tend to charge high fees and offer poor rates. Specialist money transfer providers will give you better rates and lower fees.

But there are other alternatives, and the best way deto send money will depend on your specific situation. Taking things like speed, tax regulations, fees and more into consideration is also important when making your decision.

What are my options for sending a large money transfer overseas?

  1. International money transfer specialist
  2. Cash-to-cash transfers
  3. Bank-to-bank transfers
  4. International banker’s draft
  5. Cryptocurrency

1. International money transfer specialist

International money transfer providers exist to make the process of sending money overseas faster and more straightforward. They often offer some of the most competitive exchange rates for your large money transfer, and many charge far lower fees than what you’ll find at your bank.

Pros

  • Typically cheaper and faster than bank transfers.
  • Diverse payment options, including payment by credit card, debit card, bank account and more.
  • Many transfer specialists offer step-by-step guidance for the entire process.
  • Can be sent entirely online.

Cons

  • Many options exist, so finding the best one may seem tricky.
  • Some money transfer specialists don’t have transparent fees and exchange rates.
  • You have to trust a company with your money, so vetting them is important.
We vetted a handful of companies for you, so use our hand-picked list of transfer providers to save time and money.

Compare money transfer specialists

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.
Data updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
TransferWise for large transfers
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
TransferWise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
£0

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
SpartanFX
24 hours
£0

View details
SpartanFX has fee-free transfers, a best exchange rate guarantee and personalised one-to-one support for every customer.
Universal Partners FX
24 hours
£0

View details
Universal Partners FX offers competitive exchange rates and same-day transfers in 100+ currencies.
PagoFX for large transfers
Within an hour
Varies

View details
PagoFX offers fast and cheap international money transfers from the UK and is backed by Santander.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour
£0

View details
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
£0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Central FX
24 hours
£0

View details
CentralFX's dedicated team will guide you or your business from first call to final payment.
TransferWise
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
TransferWise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
PagoFX
Within an hour
Varies

View details
PagoFX offers fast and cheap international money transfers from the UK and is backed by Santander.
XE Money Transfers
24 hours
£0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Azimo
Within minutes
From £0.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ First two transfers free for new customers.

View details
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
CurrencyFair
24 hours
€3
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From £1.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

2. Cash-to-cash transfers

Being able to send money for cash pickup is a convenient way to complete your international money transfer, particularly if you or your recipient doesn’t have a bank account to receive a large money transfer. Companies that offer cash-to-cash transfers include Ria Money Transfer, MoneyGram, Western Union and more.

Pros

  • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Sender doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Cash transfers often get there faster than bank-to-bank transfers.

Cons

  • Most cash-to-cash specialists have a maximum sending limit.
  • Large amounts of cash will need to be picked up by the recipient, which could be dangerous.
  • Higher fees are typically applied to cash-to-cash transfers, compared to using an international money specialist that transfers to a bank account.
Finding the right company to send your cash-to-cash transfer is important, so compare your options to figure out which company sends to your preferred destination and offers the lowest fees and strongest exchange rates.

3. Bank-to-bank transfers

Most banks are able to initiate an overseas transfer, but they tend to be the most expensive option. For small transfers, the familiarity and ease of using your local bank can be worth the fees and unfavourable exchange rate, but for a large money transfer, you’ll see a noticeable chunk taken from your transfer.

Pros

  • You already trust your bank with your money.
  • You can initiate the transfer online, in person or by phone.
  • You don’t have to trust any companies with your money.

Cons

  • More expensive than other options.
  • Usually much slower than other options.
  • Have to pay with funds that are already in your bank account.
When sending a bank-to-bank transfer, double check how much your bank charges for outgoing international wire transfers before transferring money to avoid any shocks. Sometimes bank wire transfer limits might be set in place by your bank, so you’ll need to ask it ahead of time if you plan on making a large money transfer abroad that’s over £10,000. You’ll also need to know the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for both your own account and the account you’re paying into.

4. International banker’s draft

An international banker’s draft is issued by a bank on behalf of the payer and allows another bank, typically in another country, to draw funds directly from the issuing bank. International banker’s drafts can be drawn in a foreign currency, removing the need to speculate on future exchange rates, as funds are immediately converted when the international draft is created.

Pros

  • Accepted in many parts of the world.
  • Relatively cost effective when compared to wire transfers between international banks.
  • Can only be cashed at a bank by the person listed on the international bank draft.

Cons

  • Slow, as they have to be physically sent or hand delivered between countries.
  • Your bank might not support the currency and country you want to send the draft to.
  • Difficult and time consuming to replace if lost or stolen.
International banker’s drafts aren’t ideal for many situations, so be sure to double check if they’re right for you before sending one.

5. Cryptocurrency

If you hold cryptocurrency, you can send it to a wallet anywhere in the world. Many cryptocurrency exchanges will also let you trade cryptocurrency for fiat currency, such as pound sterling or euros. That means it’s possible to exchange pound sterling for a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, and then trade your cryptocurrency for a different fiat currency, like euros. But that doesn’t mean it’s a simple process.

Pros

  • You can send money directly to your recipient’s cryptocurrency wallet address, removing the need for companies as intermediaries.
  • Your transaction can’t be cancelled.

Cons

    • Requires a lot of technical know-how to avoid errors.
    • Prices can be volatile, so you could lose a lot of it in a large money transfer if the price of the cryptocurrency you’re using as an intermediary drops.
    • Depending on the route you use, there may be many fees to pay.

    Cryptocurrency for international money transfers: How it works

    The basic process for transferring money overseas using cryptocurrency is:

    1. Transfer funds to an online cryptocurrency exchange.
    2. Use your local currency to buy cryptocurrency, which goes into a digital wallet.
    3. Sell your cryptocurrency for a foreign currency.
    4. Withdraw your funds from the exchange platform.

    You’ll probably encounter percentage-based fees at each step, making cryptocurrency an expensive way to send a large money transfer .

    Which option is best?

    The best option, of course, depends on your specific circumstances. But, while using your bank is convenient, overall using a money transfer specialist may end up being your least expensive option and offer stronger exchange rates. To get a baseline of what your large money transfer could cost, compare a few different money transfer providers.

    Frequently asked questions

    Can I send cash internationally?

    Technically yes, but you shouldn’t. Sending cash in the mail is extremely unsafe and risky, as there is absolutely no guarantee that it will reach your recipient. Also, posting large amounts of cash through the mail could get you in trouble with the HMRC if it isn’t properly declared.

    Is my money safe?

    All providers we link to are either FCA-authorised or FCA-registered, meaning that your money has a degree of protection from when it’s sent to when it has arrived. These companies are used to handling millions, sometimes even billions, of pounds each year, and can be trusted to get your money from A to B quickly and securely. For more information on this, see our page on FCA authorisation.

    Can I bring large sums of cash to another country?

    Yes, if you want to skip the transfer specialists you can bring cash to another country. But you’ll need to check that country’s laws for any limits on how much cash you can bring into the country, and you’ll probablly need to declare it at customs. Be aware that neglecting to declare large sums of cash at customs can result in legal trouble, and both you and your recipient might need to file taxes declaring the transfer of cash funds.

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    2 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      LucianoApril 26, 2018

      Who is your agent in Margao, Goa please ? How many pounds will my relative in UK get for Rs 5 lakhs and how many days will it take for the transfer please ?

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JeniApril 27, 2018Staff

        Hi Luciano,

        Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

        500,000 Indian Rupees is equivalent to 5,373.17 British Pounds.

        As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice.

        In this page, you’ll see list of money transfer providers that you can choose to have your transaction with. You can contact these providers directly if they can assist you sending your money to Margao, Gao in India. All providers we link to are either FCA authorised or FCA registered, meaning that your money has a degree of protection from when it’s sent to when it has arrived. Most providers can realistically deliver your funds within a day, though allowing for 2-3 days is advised.

        I hope this helps.

        Have a great day!

        Cheers,
        Jeni

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